Copyright lawyer advises "be careful" using Python?

Discussion in 'Python' started by johnzenger@gmail.com, Sep 26, 2006.

  1. Guest

    I was scanning the 9/13/2006 issue of the "Electronic Commerce & Law
    Report," which is a newsletter for lawyers published by BNA. They have
    an article headlined "Game Developers Making Tomorrow's Hits Face Host
    of Copyright Issues Along the Way," and the article is mostly a writeup
    of a speech given by Paul Tauger, identified as "an IP attorney with
    Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP, San Francisco." It contains this
    final paragraph:

    "Be Careful Using Open Source Tools. Game developers are under
    constant pressure to deliver games under tight deadlines. Open source
    software tools can help speed the development process, but may carry
    with them certain legal risks, Tauger explained. One open source tool
    popular with the game development community is Python. Unfortunately,
    the Python Software Foundation's license agreement leaves a lot of
    unanswered questions about the origin and precise ownership of the
    tool's code. The license refers to six separate entities that, at one
    point or another, contributed to the tool's development. PSF's license
    disclaims any warranties of non-infringement and disavows any
    indemnification obligation. In theory, if some aspect of Python was
    deemed to infringe copyrighted code, it could create legal headaches
    for game developers who rely upon the tool to build certain parts of
    their games. 'Be aware of the risks attendant,' Tauger said." (page
    914)

    What is our response? Is the PSF that much different from any other
    open source license? Can anyone identify everyone who ever contributed
    to the Linux source code? Does ANY free "tool" indemnify people? In
    fact, does Microsoft indemnify Visual Studio users against the risk
    that one day the BASIC language will be found to have been infringing a
    patent all along?
     
    , Sep 26, 2006
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. Duncan Booth Guest

    wrote:


    > Is the PSF that much different from any other open source license?


    Only in not having a copyleft and therefore being potentially usable by
    companies wishing to develop closed software. Generally such companies
    wouldn't even consider using GPL'd software so they don't care whether or
    not it has patent issues.

    > Can anyone identify everyone who ever contributed to the Linux source
    > code? Does ANY free "tool" indemnify people?


    Probably not, and probably not.

    > In fact, does Microsoft indemnify Visual Studio users against
    > the risk that one day the BASIC language will be found to have been
    > infringing a patent all along?


    I'm afraid they do.

    From
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/5/a/15a6c1c7-cf7c-455f-9927-986e
    46cab2ae/Yankee_Indemnification_Report.pdf (dated 2004):

    > Microsoft


    > Microsoft provides the broadest, most specific indemnification
    > available in the industry. If a corporate customer licenses Microsoft
    > software through the Volume License channel, Microsoft will compensate
    > that customer for any legal costs should any company assert any type
    > of IP infringement claim related to the software covered by the
    > license agreement. All Microsoft Volume Licensing customers
    > automatically receive this protection.


    > As of November 10, Microsoft expanded its indemnification to include
    > consumers and corporate customers. Microsoft’s IP indemnification for
    > Volume Licensing is comprehensive and does not include a cap. It
    > addresses customer requests that Microsoft completely cover damages
    > and settlements on IP claims that are within its control.


    > There are some reasonable limitations for claims that are not solely
    > within Microsoft’s control. For example, Microsoft will not indemnify
    > for damages arising from non- Microsoft components.


    I'm sure the actual terms and conditions are spelled out somewhere, that's
    just the first document I found with a reasonable description of what they
    offer.
     
    Duncan Booth, Sep 26, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. =?Utf-8?B?RWQgQ2hpdQ==?=

    Need advises on codes

    =?Utf-8?B?RWQgQ2hpdQ==?=, Dec 2, 2004, in forum: ASP .Net
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    310
    =?Utf-8?B?RWQgQ2hpdQ==?=
    Dec 2, 2004
  2. jojobar
    Replies:
    10
    Views:
    626
    Jason Bentley
    Mar 21, 2005
  3. Roedy Green

    Language Lawyer Question on final

    Roedy Green, Apr 24, 2004, in forum: Java
    Replies:
    5
    Views:
    360
    Roedy Green
    Apr 25, 2004
  4. Pete Jereb
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    559
    Pete Jereb
    Oct 7, 2003
  5. be careful

    , Aug 7, 2007, in forum: C Programming
    Replies:
    0
    Views:
    413
Loading...

Share This Page